October 26, 2018, Friday
“Some LGBT youths, through various contributions that were received by the General Secretariat of the Synod, wish to ‘benefit from greater closeness’ and experience greater care by the Church, while some BC [Note: an acronym for “Bishops Conferences”] ask themselves what to suggest ‘to young people who decide to create homosexual instead of heterosexual couples and, above all, would like to be close to the Church.'” —A portion of Paragraph #197 of the Instrumentum Laboris (the “Working Document” of “Instrument of Work”) produced prior to the present October 2018 Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, which is ending this weekend.
“He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet! Be still’ … then he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” (Mk 4:38-40). —In Mark’s Gospel, the disciples, sailing on the Sea of Galilee, see a violent storm approaching. They fear they may capsize and drown, and do not at first realize that Jesus is still with them and still in command of the boat
Paragraph 197 (above) has become noteworthy because it is the only place in the preparatory document where the acronym “LGBT” — for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender” — appears.
Because the acronym appears to identify human persons “essentially” (that is, in their “essence”) on the basis of their sexual attractions, affections, inclinations, Christian doctrine has in the past always regarded this term, and other similar seemingly “reductionist” linguistic formulations concerning the nature of the human person, as in some way misleading and so less than adequate for the purposes of Catholic doctrine on the soul, and when teaching about the challenges facing souls seeking salvation through the often difficult way of repentance from sin and the attempt to live a holy life.
Since the “supreme law” of the Church is the salvation of souls, and since this LGBT acronym, like some other terms, has always seemed to be inadequate in describing the human person’s soul, the acronym has never appeared in any official Catholic Church document.
However, there are reports that it may appear, in one form or another, in the final document of this Synod, now being drafted and expected to be read and voted on in Rome tomorrow.
At the same time, others are reporting that Pope Francis himself has intervened and has ordered that the term not be used.
Below are reports supporting each of these theses: that the term will be included, and that it will not be included.
We will know tomorrow.
Article #1: From Michael Voris of Church Militant, this article claims that Pope Francis has intervened and ordered that the acronym “LGBT” not appear in the final document of the Synod
Article #2: From Italian Vatican journalist Sandro Magister, this article also claims that the acronym will not appear in the final document, on the orders of Pope Francis.
Article #3: From Lifesitenews, this article claims, on the contrary, that the term will be included in the final document, but in a “hidden and subtle” way. The way this will occur is through stating that everything in the Instrumentum Laboris — including, of course, Paragraph #197, cited above — is “instrinsically linked” to the text of the final Synod document, and that the two documents must be read “together.” In this “hidden” way, the acronym LGBT will, Diane Montagna argues, be “smuggled into” the final Synod document. (Some comments by readers from the internet are included under the text of the article.)
Article #4: Information about a new campaign (“Equal Future” Campaign) which seeks to highlight the damage worldwide caused by “negative viewpoints on the LGBT community.” The group, called “Equal Future” says on its website that it “wants your story about LGBTQ equality for the Synod on Young People.”
Article #5: Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, who is attending the Synod, and why the term “LGBT” ought not to be used in the final Synod document.
Article #6: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in a 1986 document On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons
A ‘BRIDGE’ TOO FAR
Surprise from Rome.
October 26, 2018
By Michael Voris
I’m Michael Voris coming to you from Rome in the last couple of days of the Youth Synod, where reports are now predicting something rather remarkable.
It’s not over until the Holy Spirit is done singing, but there appears to have been what could be described as a last minute de-railing of the homo-train here at the synod, as it looks like the Pope himself has slammed the brakes on the whole affair [emphasis added.]
The final document to be voted on this weekend was, by all accounts, full steam ahead, and many reports saying, indeed, it had already been written by the homoheretic crowd and much of what was being seen here was all for show — that the homoheretic cardinals and bishops who have rung up a series of victories these past few years were within an inch of presenting the appearance that the Church was going to embrace homosexuality.
But suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, the train came flying off the tracks as the Pope himself appears to have stepped in and quashed this spiritual madness.
Specifically, what is being talked about — as it has been for months — is the inclusion of the specific acronym “LGBT” [emphasis added] — four letters that carry a powerful wallop of ideology.
It more than suggests that first, people are born that way, and two, this is their identity, the very core of who they are, what defines them.
The acronym LGBT appeared in the official Church document preparing for the synod in paragraph 197, sending shock waves around the world. There it was, big and bold, inside an official Church document, the acronym LGBT, with all the accompanying baggage of cultural evil.
But that was on June 19. The very next day, the news of homosexual predator Theodore McCarrick broke, and the Church descended into what was termed its “Summer of Shame.”
You know the rest from that point on: cardinals lying saying they didn’t know anything about it, charges and reports coming from seemingly every corner of the Church of not just McCarrick but homosexual predatory behavior in seminaries everywhere in the West, the Pennsylvania grand jury report, Donald Wuerl being swamped in the ensuing melee and having to finally resign, multiple calls for investigations of bishops and cardinals, 15 states — with more on the way — as well as two federal Justice Department investigations into all of this evil, hundreds of lawsuits, state legislatures beginning to pass laws lifting the statutes of limitations so every single victim can come forward and sue, open discussion from Catholic social media and faithful Catholics demanding an end to the gaying of the Church, everywhere, good priests being persecuted inside the Church for the fidelity to the Gospel — and on and on and on.
It has been nothing less than a whirlwind — a vortex — of relentless news about the problem of homosexuality within the clergy and the promotion of it by heretical-minded ideologues who have had blinders on to everything going on in their rush to normalize the evil.
The truthful and accurate explosive testimonies — three of them — by Abp. (Carlo Maria) Viganò in the past two months, pointing a finger directly at the evil of homosexuality within the clergy and their desire to pervert the Church and Her teaching — all of this, every bit of it, combined, has created a storm of such magnitude, such alarm and attention that it appears the possibility of a final document appearing to give some kind of approval to homosexuality was just a bridge too far for Francis, apologies to James Martin.
Somewhere, in his soul, or mind or calculations, for reasons unknown precisely, it seems the Pope discerned this can go no further, and it has ended.
The Pope himself has not come out and said this, but some of the cardinals closest to him — some of the very ones who had been the big gay cheerleaders — have suddenly begun talking about preserving Church doctrine and not changing any wording in the Catechism.
They would not do that, especially given their history on all this, without the Pope having stepped in. And speaking of stepping in, a Pope never intervenes in the drafting of the final document at a synod.
The entire point is for the synod fathers to prepare a document for his consideration after all their work is done for him to then review, not help prepare.
No less than the official Vatican newspaper itself, L’Osservatore Romano — reported that as the final document was being drafted this past Monday evening, Pope Francis himself was present and took part — that never happens.
Two heavy-hitters in the Pope Francis circle — Philippine Cdl. Luis Tagle and German Cdl. Reinhard Marx — subsequently came out at a later press conference this week and seemed to completely rule out any possibility that the term LGBT would be anywhere in the final document.
All of this is a spiritual and political earthquake in the Church, a crushing defeat for the James Martins of the Church.
On the purely natural level, there wasn’t one faithful Catholic who, at the start of the synod, didn’t see exactly where all this was headed: the embrace of homosexuality by the Catholic Church, or at the least, the appearance of it.
And there it was, all the preparation was in place — even in writing — in the official lead-up document on Church letterhead — everything had been made ready. All that was needed now was for the circus of a synod, using young people to give the appearance that it was necessary to talk to the world to adopt the world’s approach.
Nothing was going to stop them — that was June 19.
June 20, the reality of all this evil began to unfold and unravel and be dragged into the light, and Church leaders who have permitted this and covered it up and promoted it are beginning to have to deal with the massive, massive consequences of all of it, which will drag on for years.
Of paramount importance — which is why we are addressing it last — the tens of millions of Rosaries and pleadings of the hearts of faithful, discouraged, near-despondent Catholics crying and pleading to Heaven to save the Church from all this evil. Nothing was more important than this reality. The vortex of everything being exposed has been brought about by Heaven answering prayers.
The fight is not over. It’s never over in this life, but if this all works out this weekend at the final vote on the document the way it looks like it right now, this is a severe blow to the demon in his pride to further corrupt the Church.
Of course, people who experience same-sex attraction deserve compassion and respect and love in their day to day struggle — as does every person — but it is wicked and un-Catholic to limit the view of a person — any person — to reduce them to their “issue” — whatever that issue is — denying the glory of their fullness as a creature made in the image of likeness of Almighty God by God Himself.
That is what the term LGBT does, that is what it is intended to do and that is why the Church can never adopt it.
It’s kind of weird to give the final word of this Vortex on the eve of tomorrow’s vote by quoting — of all people — Cdl. Marx — extremely close to the Pope.
But he came out publicly two days ago, after the Pope showed up, and said the following of the term LGBT: “We must not allow ourselves to be influenced by ideological pressure, nor to use formulas that can be exploited.”
You heard that correctly.
The bridge that needs to be built for those Catholics with same-sex attraction is the same bridge that needs to be built for every Catholic, the one that goes from the confessional to Heaven.
Reporting to you from Rome, the day before the conclusion of the synod, this is Michael Voris for Church Militant.
Article #2: This is an article by Sandro Magister which also explains the decision not to include the “LGBT” acronym and, in general, not to attempt any revision in Church teaching on homosexuality, to the decision of Pope Francis himself.
24 October, 2018. Synod. The Pope Has Hit the Brakes, and On Homosexuality the Catechism Still Applies
By Sandro Magister
The two synods on the family of 2014 and 2015 were among the most deliberately steered in history, so much so that at the beginning of the second session thirteen top-ranking cardinals wrote a letter to Pope Francis precisely to denounce the maneuvers aimed at producing “predetermined results on important disputed questions.”
The point being that the outcome of that double synod was already decided even before it was celebrated. And its coronation was the post-synodal exhortation “Amoris Laetitia,” with which Francis gave the go-ahead to communion for the divorced and remarried, in spite of the fact that a good one-third of the synod fathers had spoken out against it.
Instead, the synod on young people that will conclude on Sunday, October 28 seems to be the most peaceful ever.
So peaceful that even the most explosive argument of those put to discussion — concerning the judgment on homosexuality — was practically defused.
The discussions in the assembly were kept confidential. But according to what was made public by the official information sources, there was not even one statement in favor of a change in Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.
And yet the “Instrumentum Laboris,” meaning the starter document that the synod fathers were called to discuss, seemed to promise sparks when it stated in paragraph 197 (among other things, introducing for the first time into an official text of the Church the not-innocent acronym LGBT):
“Some LGBT youths, through various contributions that were received by the General Secretariat of the Synod, wish to ‘benefit from greater closeness’ and experience greater care by the Church, while some BC ask themselves what to suggest ‘to young people who decide to create homosexual instead of heterosexual couples and, above all, would like to be close to the Church’.”
And instead nothing. When it came time to discuss this paragraph in the third week of the synod, not even those synod fathers known as innovators came out into the open.
On the contrary, in reading the few lines dedicated to the topic by what was expected to be of the 14 “circuli minores” the one most inclined to innovate, “Anglicus B” headed by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, one is struck by its explicit reference to the traditional doctrine on homosexuality contained in the Catechism.
Here, in fact, is how the relator of “Anglicus B” summed up the overall perspective of his working group, in the “relatio” presented in the assembly on October 20, concerning young people “who experience same-sex attraction:”
“We propose a separate section for this issue and that the main objective of this be the pastoral accompaniment of these people which follows the lines of the relevant section of the Catechism in the Catholic Church.”
So without changing a comma of the Catechism, which on homosexuals, in paragraphs 2357-59, says that “they must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” but also that they “are called to chastity,” because their “inclination” is “objectively disordered.”
Other “circuli minores” also discussed the question, but always insisting – according to their written accounts — on the goodness of the Church’s traditional vision and on the need for the “conversion” of homosexuals to a chaste life.
With these premises, it therefore appears unlikely that the final document of the synod, which has been under discussion since October 23 and will come to the final vote on Saturday the 27th, would mark a turning point on the issue of homosexuality.
But precisely because the ones who hit the brakes included the synod fathers closest to Jorge Mario Bergoglio, it is plausible that this de facto flop was not a failure of the pope’s expectations, but on the contrary was the fruit of his decision.
A decision that was probably made while the work was underway, considering the dramatic moment that the Catholic Church and the papacy itself are going through on the world stage, in the thick of a cataclysm that has its peak precisely in the disordered homosexual activities of numerous sacred ministers.
By statute, a pope never intervenes in the drafting of the final document, which instead must be “offered” to him at the end of the synod.
But this time Francis has bent the rules, in order to follow the composition of the text as closely as possible. This was revealed by “L’Osservatore Romano” in the edition that went to press in the early afternoon of Tuesday, October 23, where it says that in the work of composing the document “on Monday evening Pope Francis also took part in person.”
At a press conference, on October 23, to the question of whether the final document, like the “Instrumentum Laboris” before it, will contain a passage concerning “LGBT young people,” Filipino cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle -= a leading figure of the Bergoglian circle — replied that “the issue will be present in the document, in what form and with what approach I do not know,” implying in any case that there will be no repetition of the acronym LGBT, which had raised so many protests even before the beginning of the synod.
Tagle gave another response in line with tradition also to the question of what to do concerning the widespread presence in seminaries of young homosexual candidates for the priesthood. He said that albeit “with constant respect for human dignity, there are also several needs and requirements that we must consider,” so that they may not be “in contradiction with the exercise of a ministry.”
And at a press conference the following day German cardinal Reinhard Marx — another leader of the progressive wing and a “heavy” member of the “C9,” the council of cardinals that assists Francis in the governance of the universal Church — put the last nail in the coffin. “The question of homosexuality was never among the central topics of the synod,” he said. And he strictly ruled it out that the acronym LGBT would be used in the final document: “We must not allow ourselves to be influenced by ideological pressure, nor to use formulas that can be exploited.”
(English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.)
Article #3: The Lifesitenews report of Diane Montagna on the Synod final document.
Thursday, October 25, 2018 – 4:37 pm EST
How ‘LGBT’ is being smuggled into the Vatican Youth Synod’s final doc
ROME, October 25, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A two-fold effort is underway to smuggle the “LGBT” acronym and ideology into the final document for the Vatican Youth Synod, LifeSite has learned.
Informed sources close to the synod have told LifeSite that the draft of the final document has resurrected and enshrined the much-disparaged working document (Instrumentum laboris), which contains the loaded acronym “LGBT.” Paragraph 197 of the Instrumentum laboris reads:
Some LGBT youths, through various contributions that were received by the General Secretariat of the Synod, wish to “benefit from greater closeness” and experience greater care by the Church, while some BC ask themselves what to suggest “to young people who decide to create homosexual instead of heterosexual couples and, above all, would like to be close to the Church.”
The inclusion of “LGBT” was roundly criticized by Archbishop Charles Chaput in his synod intervention, and has received strong push-back from the synod fathers of Africa.
LifeSite has been shown the draft of the final document. In an introductory paragraph, the drafting commission clarifies the relationship between the Instrumentum laboris and the final document, saying they are intrinsically linked and are to be read together.
This is what is known as a “chapeau paragraph.”
It is a technique used in consensus documents at the UN and other international institutions.
A chapeau is often the first paragraph in a document in order to set the whole tone. The draft’s inclusion of the Instrumentum laboris in this way implies that it is accepted as a whole, and sets the interpretative framework for the final document.
In other words, including the Instrumentum laboris in a chapeau means that “LGBT” has made it into the draft final document, albeit in a more hidden and subtle way.
Therefore, while veteran Vaticanist Sandro Magister reported yesterday that Pope Francis has “hit the brakes” on the inclusion of “LGBT,” the draft final document suggests that someone on the drafting commission has smuggled it in.
The second way the “LGBT” ideology has made its way into the draft final document is through the use of the term “sexual orientation,” which is the UN equivalent of “LGBT.”
For the homosexual lobby and the UN, “‘LGBT’ = ‘sexual orientation’,” a source said.
The term “sexual orientation” appears three times in the final document draft.
In the first instance, the document says young people want openly to discuss “sexual orientation” and homosexuality.
Amid changing ways of living out affectivity and multiple moral perspectives, it notes that young people value authenticity and fidelity.
It also calls for a deepened anthropology, theology and pastoral care, but never references Pope John Paul II’s extensive analysis on human sexuality, Theology of the Body.
In a second instance, the draft says the choice to remain single can be based on a variety of reasons, including religious, social, or “sexual orientation.”
A third paragraph reiterates the call to develop a deepened anthropology and theology on questions of “sexual identity,” adding that it must be done in a context of synodality. It speaks of God’s love for every person and the Church’s commitment to fight discrimination and violence based on “sexual identity.”
Echoing a recent address by Pope Francis’ secretary to the C-9 council of cardinals, the paragraph added that is not appropriate to define persons solely on the basis of their sexuality.
“No amount of chastity insertions will undo the use of the term ‘sexual orientiation,’” an informed source close to the synod told LifeSite. “When the final document comes out, everyone — including the ‘LGBT’ lobby groups — will do a ‘Control F’ search for ‘sexual orientation,’” they added.
A certain omission of terms in the final document is also raising concerns. In a paragraph on the difference between male and female, the draft says that Sacred Scripture presents the sexual difference as both fundamental to the human being and elusive. Citing Genesis, it says that man and woman are called to live together in dialogue and communion, but it makes no mention of marriage.
Concerns over the inclusion of the “LGBT” acronym or other similar language is heightened by the fact that the final document coming from the synod will purportedly be magisterial if approved by the Pope.
In article 18, nos. 1 and 2 of the newly issued apostolic constitution, Episcopalis Communio, it is stated that after a synodal document receives express approval from the Roman Pontiff, the document participates in the Ordinary Magisterium of the Successor to St. Peter.
“Unfortunately, this is a cynical and political move that tries to create Catholic Tradition by fiat,” one Rome-based theologian told LifeSite. The theologian explained:
Episcopalis Communio undermines the perennial communion of the saints in the Tradition of Faith by legislating a pretense—as if a teaching becomes part of Catholic teaching simply because the Pope and some bishops say so.
But popes such as Liberius and Honorius have supported doctrinal or moral errors, and the acts of Synod of Pistoia (1786) were later condemned as erroneous and dangerous to the faith (1794).
The work of the authentic Magisterium is to transmit the deposit of Faith as handed on by the apostles and their successors throughout the ages, not to create novelties that are little more than doctrinal wolves in sheep’s clothing.
On Friday, the drafting commission will finish amending the text, before presenting the final document to the Synod Fathers for a vote on Saturday. A two-thirds majority of 267 voting members of the Synod will be needed for each paragraph to pass.
• 35 Comments on this story by Diane Montagna
cs Peter the hermit • 5 hours ago
Can someone who posts over there at Church Militant TV, warn them of this news.
Seems as though they haven’t gotten this information and many are being misinformed who check out their site?
I am sure CMTV would want to know.
monscarmeli • 17 hours ago
This is utter madness — deliberating over whether to give room to gravely disordered inclinations and destructive behaviors. If we can’t even get a simple Catholic document from a gathering of supposedly Catholic bishops, then we need new bishops (which has already been said many times).
CadaveraVeroInnumero • 17 hours ago
“Sexual orientation”, as with LGBTQ, is an open-ended, fluid (professionally confiscated) term. To include it in the final document (let alone any follow-up apostolic instrument Francis will issue) commits the signatories (that is, in this instance, the Body of Christ) to sign on to the term’s conventional meaning and the full spectrum of its (present and future) implications.
Trumark CadaveraVeroInnumero • 14 hours ago
padrerock • 17 hours ago
Pope Benedict has a duty to speak doesn’t he?
Brutus Augustus padrerock • 17 hours ago
Yes, exactly….his input is long overdue
raphaelheals • 15 hours ago
If they still have to vote on each paragraph and get a two thirds vote this Saturday, then shouldn’t we wait and see if the African bishops stand their ground and decry the attempts to add sexual orientation and LGBT into the final document?…
cs • 11 hours ago
Thank you LifeSite News. Thank you to Diane Montagna for bringing the laity this information.
Article #4: A new campaign which seeks to highlight the damage worldwide caused by “negative viewpoints on the LGBT community.” The group, called “Equal Future” says on its website that it “wants your story about LGBTQ equality for the Synod on Young People.” This shows the effort being made to influence the Church on these issues.
By Mackenzie Harte, Coordinator, Education & Training
August 22, 2018
Equal Future campaign
A new campaign, Equal Future, is an international humanitarian campaign seeking to raise awareness about damage done to children around the globe as a result of negative viewpoints on the LGBTQ community. Equal Future brings together one of the largest coalitions of LGBTQ and LGBTQ faith groups from across the globe, including organizations and individuals spanning six continents.
The Equal Future campaign’s goals include:
• To raise awareness of how damage is done to children when they are given the sense that to be LGBTQ would be a misfortune or a disappointment
• To change behavior as a consequence of that understanding so that, around the world, the damage stops
• To help the leadership of the Catholic Church understand the damage that is done ahead of their global meeting, and to play their part
The campaign strives to take advantage of the upcoming Synod on Young People, hosted by the Catholic Church this coming October. The Catholic Church has asked for feedback from people of all faiths (and none) regarding young peoples’ experiences with social or religious exclusion. The Equal Future campaign calls on the Synod to consider the damage done to young people as a direct result of the Catholic Church’s anti-LGBTQ teachings and practices.
There are a few ways you can get involved with the Equal Future campaign:
• Take The Pledge: Pledge to never give a child or young person the feeling that being LGBTQ would be a misfortune or a disappointment.
• Contact Your Delegate: Your voice matters. Contact your delegate to share your story and help accelerate acceptance.
• Volunteer: Help the Equal Future campaign by hosting an event, becoming a social media ambassador, and helping to reach out to your own community.
• Share Your Story: Your story matters. Make sure our children and young people never feel that being LGBT would be a misfortune or disappointment.
The article highlights the role of various groups around the world in lobbying the Synod.
Friday October 12, 2018 – 4:17 pm EST
By Diane Montagna
ROME, October 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — An international coalition of lesbian, gay and transgender groups are striving “to take advantage” of the Youth Synod to pressure the Church to change her teaching and pastoral approach on homosexuality, it has emerged.
This international “LGBT” coalition has been lobbying the Church since the first family synod in 2014. It has expanded into what is now collectively known as Equal Future. Its stated aim is to convince bishops of the “damage done to young people as a direct result of the Catholic Church’s anti-LGBTQ teachings and practices.”
Equal Future unites radical US-based LGBT activist groups such as Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD with dissident Catholic groups such as New Ways Ministries and Dignity.
But arguably the greatest threat comes from a handful of influential Church officials who appear to be actively encouraging the normalization of homosexuality in the Church — or at the very least not teaching the fullness of the Church’s doctrine on the issue.
Support from the C-9 secretary?
LifeSite discovered this global “LGBT” coalition after news this week that Pope Francis’ secretary to the C-9 Council of Cardinals had delivered an address to one of its Italian affiliates near Rome.
Speaking at Italy’s 5th Forum of “LGBT” Christians on Oct. 6, Bishop Marcello Semeraro took up Pope Francis’ image in Amoris Laetitia, n. 299 of the Church as a welcoming mother who desires to integrate divorced and civilly married Catholics, and broadened it to include those in the “LGBT” movement. The bishop, however, failed to reassert the Church’s teaching regarding homosexuality, saying that he “wasn’t [there] to give lessons on … morality.”
Such silence runs contrary to a Letter to Bishops on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1986 under then-Cardinal (Joseph) Ratzinger, instructing them that “silence about [the Church’s teaching] in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral.”
The Oct. 6 event, held in Bishop Semararo’s diocese of Albano, featured a video message by Fr. James Martin, SJ, a consulter to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications since 2017.
In his talk, Semeraro, who in 2016 expressed support for same-sex civil unions, also reassured the group that synod organizers had incorporated their contributions into the synod’s working document [Instrumentum laboris], in paragraph 197:
LGBT youths, through various contributions that were received by the General Secretariat of the Synod, wish to “benefit from greater closeness” and experience greater care by the Church, while some [Bishops’ Conferences] ask themselves what to suggest “to young people who decide to create homosexual instead of heterosexual couples and, above all, would like to be close to the Church”.
Reading the passage aloud, the bishop of Albano invited the group to “trust in the Spirit” who “speaks in the Church especially when they all gather together in one place.”
Semeraro’s comments shed light on remarks made last week by Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat of Communications, who told journalists that the “LGBT” acronym’s inclusion in the synod’s working document was based on the contributions of some “episcopal conferences” and “individual groups.”
Ruffini’s remarks were a pivot from a previous claim by the synod’s general secretary, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, that the “LGBT” acronym was quoted from a pre-synod document compiled by young people — a claim that proved untrue.
What “episcopal conferences” was Paolo Ruffini referring to in his remarks? Recently the Italian Catholic agency, La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, reported on a “gay tsunami” that has hit Italy since the Youth Synod began. They cited Bishop Semeraro’s conference in Albano, an Oct. 13 conference in Bari on “Christian Faith and homobitransexuality” with greetings from the local ordinary, Bishop Francesco Cacucci, and other related events. Given the support such initiatives receive in the official newspaper of the Italian Bishops Conference, Avvenire, it is likely that the Italian episcopate is one of the “episcopal conferences” Ruffini refers to.
In his speech, Semararo also referred to an earlier talk he had given in May to their umbrella group, the European European Forum of “LGBT” Christians – a coalition actively working to normalize a homosexual lifestyle in the Church. Fr. Martin had also addressed that annual meeting, during a public conference called “Towards the Youth Synod.”
A growing coalition
What is the European Forum of “LGBT” Christians, and how did it expand to become part of Equal Future?
Founded by a gay activist Catholic priest in Paris, in 1982, the European Forum of “LGBT” Christians is “an ecumenical association of ‘LGBT’ Christian groups” in Eastern and Western Europe, including Italy. Its stated aim is “to achieve equality and inclusion for LGBT people withinand through Christian churches, other religious bodies and multilateral organizations.”
As Bishop Semeraro was addressing the Albano meeting on Oct. 6, the European Forum of “LGBT” Christians was working to defeat a referendum in Romania to define “family” as a married man and woman. The European Forum said it was “appalling” that the Romanian Orthodox Church should support the referendum and urged the Orthodox Church to “withdraw its support for such a divisive, discriminatory proposal.” The Forum succeeded in its goal and the referendum was defeated, because not enough voters turned out to the polls.
The European Forum’s future activities include a Nov. 9-11 training session in Versailles, France, on how to dialogue with Roman Catholic bishops and clergy. In the Forum’s own words: “It is becoming ever more clear that one of the most effective ways to bring about change in the Church is by sharing our personal stories as LGBT people of faith. When we do this with clergymen in smaller circles, then in turn, with time, it will help influence the whole church hierarchy reaping longer lasting results.”
Lobbying a synod
What was the next step in the European Forum of “LGBT” Christians’ expansion?
In 2014, at the extraordinary Synod on the Family, the European Forum of “LGBT” Christians partnered with other groups around the world to found the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) coalition. One of the chief aims of the GNRC is to work “for the inclusion, dignity and equality of this community in the Roman Catholic Church and society.”
The GNRC assembled in Oct. 2015, in Rome, in the lead up to the Ordinary Synod on the Family.
At the conclusion of the 2015 synod, the GNRC said its final report marked the “beginning of a new era of inclusive pastoral care for and with LGBT people.”
However, they expressed “regret” at the report’s assertion that a child’s best interests “requires parenting by opposite sex couples.” And they “strongly rejected” what they called the report’s “baseless accusation that financial aid to poor countries is conditional on the introduction of laws that institute marriage between same-sex people (n. 76).”
Summing up their remarks on the 2015 synod, the GNRC said: “The door for a more sensitive attentiveness to LGBT issues in the Church has been opened through the Synodal processes of 2014-2015 and, despite opposition, cannot now be closed.”
Enter ‘Equal Future’
Perceiving an open door, the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics in 2018 partnered with influential “LGBT” and dissident groups around the world — including Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and New Ways Ministry — to launch the ‘Equal Future’ campaign.
Equal Future stated aim is to strive “to take advantage of” the Vatican Youth Synod’s request for “feedback from people of all faiths (and none)” to “help” the heirarchy “consider the damage done as a consequence of the Church’s teaching on LGBT, and to reconsider the teaching itself.”
The ‘About Us’ section on the Equal Future website features two young girls in an affectionate embrace, and just below, an aerial view of the Vatican.
Equal Future provides an online platform that allows people to identify the bishop who is representing their country or region at the Synod and invites them to send an account of their personal story. It also encourages people to “pledge never to give a child or young person the feeling that being LGBT would be a misfortune or a disappointment.” And it uses poll data gathered for itself to convince people in the Church’s hierarchy that the majority of practicing Catholics in the world’s 8 largest Catholic countries want the Church to “change its damaging approach to LGBT young people.”
Tiernan Brady, the Campaign Director of Equal Future, recently called the Youth Synod a “once-in-a-generation moment” and the “closest thing the church gets to a democratic process.”
A varied response
At a Vatican press briefing on Thursday, LifeSite asked Archbishop Bruno Forte — who is likely to be the principal drafter of the synod’s final document, and who infamously smuggled into the 2014 interim report a highly controversial passage on homosexuality — about the influence the LGBT coalition is having on the Synod, and what his hopes are for the final document.
Archbishop Forte responded by saying “the point of departure is that the dignity of every human person regardless of their sexual orientation should always be respected. This is a fundamental point of the biblical message and of the Gospel message in particular.” He added: “Therefore, every human person, whether homosexual or not, should feel respected by Mother-Church.”
Forte continued: “Clearly, in the plan of God as we recognize it, even in the structure of human sexuality there is a male-female reciprocity that we regard as a fundamental value. And it is necessary not only for the sake of procreation but also for the full realization of the human person.”
“Attention towards people who are homosexual does not mean that the Church can simply equate the homosexual experience to a male-female sexuality lived in marriage and fruitfulness,” he said. “They are two different realities and they ought to be considered with a different attention and different pastoral approaches.”
“What counts is that the homosexual person knows that in the Church he will find listening and also a desire to understand the challenges that he carries but also to announce the Gospel as we do for any human being.”
Addressing the issue of “inclusion” at a synod press briefing today, U.S. Bishop Robert Barron reaffirmed past statements that a baptized Catholic with same-sex attraction is “a beloved child of God who has been embraced by the mercy of Jesus Christ and has been invited to a share in the divine life.”
But he immediately added that “the Church also calls people to conversion.”
“Jesus calls, but he always moves people to the fullness of life. And so the Church also has a set of moral demands for everybody, and she calls them to conversion,” the auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles and founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries said.
“My hesitation is that ‘inclusion’ is more of a secular term,” he added. “I use the word ‘love.’ The Church reaches out in love, and love is ‘willing the good of the other,’ and sometimes that means calling people to a change of life.”
“I think that’s where the Church’s attitude is situated, in including both of these moments: of course, of outreach and love, but acceptance and inclusion doesn’t mean that we don’t call to conversion.”
The debate over this issue is likely to take center stage next week when paragraph 197 of the Instrumentum laboris is discussed on the floor of the Synod.
By Diane Montagna
VATICAN CITY, October 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia today told Pope Francis and members of the Synod of Bishops that “LGBTQ” and other similar language should not be used in the Vatican Youth Synod document.
In his intervention this morning on the floor of the Vatican’s Synod Hall (see full text below), Archbishop Chaput said: “There is no such thing as an ‘LGBTQ Catholic’ or a ‘transgender Catholic’ or a ‘heterosexual Catholic,’ as if our sexual appetites defined who we are; as if these designations described discrete communities of differing but equal integrity within the real ecclesial community, the body of Jesus Christ.”
“This has never been true in the life of the Church, and is not true now,” Chaput told the Pope, cardinals, bishops and young people convened in the Synod Hall. “It follows that ‘LGBTQ’ and similar language should not be used in Church documents, because using it suggests that these are real, autonomous groups, and the Church simply doesn’t categorize people that way.”
Archbishop Chaput’s remarks come just three days after Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, General Secretary for the Synod of Bishops, refused to remove the term “LGBT youth” from the synod’s working document (Instrumentum laboris).
At an Oct. 1 Vatican press conference, LifeSiteNews reminded Cardinal Baldisseri that he had initially claimed the phrase “LGBT youth” was a quote taken from a pre-synodal document compiled by young people at their meeting with the Pope and Synod organizers, March 19-24, 2018.
We told Baldisseri that we had looked at the final document compiled by young people, and the acronym “LGBT” appears nowhere.
“It’s not there?” Baldisseri replied. “No,” we said.
This correspondent therefore asked Cardinal Baldisseri if he would consider removing the phrase “LGBT youth” from the Instrumentum Laboris to avoid it being inserted into the final document, and becoming part of the Magisterium of the Church.
“Look, I am not removing anything,” Cardinal Baldisseri responded. “The Synod Fathers will discuss it article by article. All the texts, even the loftiest in the world, will be discussed.”
The passage in question, contained in paragraph 197 of the Instrumentum Laboris, reads:
Some LGBT youth, through various contributions that came to the Secretariat of the Synod, wish to “benefit from a greater closeness” and experience greater care on the part of the Church, while some ECs [Episcopal Conferences] ask what to propose “to young people who instead of forming a heterosexual couple decide to form a homosexual couple and, above all, wish to be close to the Church.”
The Holy See has never used the acronym “LGBT” in a Vatican document.
Fr. James Martin, SJ, swiftly responded to news of Archbishop Chaput’s synod intervention, tweeting out:
Why should we use “LGBT” or “LGBTQ” in the church? Because people have a right to name themselves, and this is the name many choose. And there is such a “thing” as an “LGBTQ Catholic” and a “transgender catholic.” They are members of the Body of Christ.
No specific mention of Archbishop Chaput’s intervention was made at the synod press briefing today.
Father Thomas Rosica, the English language media attaché to the synod, who spoke with journalists after the briefing, also made no mention of Chaput’s remarks.
Asked if “homosexuality” and “gay relationships” were part of the interventions, Father Rosica replied: “Not those exact words, the issue was present, but there wasn’t any dominant issue.”
Father Rosica did confirm that sexual abuse was raised in several interventions. “The sex abuse issue has affected young people, and they want clarity, transparency, authenticity from us.”
Here below is the full text of Archbishop Chaput’s intervention at the Synod.
Chapter IV, paragraphs 51-63
By +Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia
I was elected to the synod’s permanent council three years ago. At the time, I was asked, along with other members, to suggest themes for this synod. My counsel then was to focus on Psalm 8. We all know the text: “When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?”
Who we are as creatures, what it means to be human, why we should imagine we have any special dignity at all – these are the chronic questions behind all our anxieties and conflicts. And the answer to all of them will not be found in ideologies or the social sciences, but only in the person of Jesus Christ, redeemer of man. Which of course means we need to understand, at the deepest level, why we need to be redeemed in the first place.
If we lack the confidence to preach Jesus Christ without hesitation or excuses to every generation, especially to the young, then the Church is just another purveyor of ethical pieties the world doesn’t need.
In this light, I read Chapter IV of the instrumentum, grafs 51-63, with keen interest. The chapter does a good job of describing the anthropological and cultural challenges facing our young people. In fact, describing today’s problems, and noting the need to accompany young people as they face those problems, are strengths of the instrumentum overall. But I believe graf 51 is misleading when it speaks of young people as the “watchmen and seismographs of every age.” This is false flattery, and it masks a loss of adult trust in the continuing beauty and power of the beliefs we have received.
In reality, young people are too often products of the age, shaped in part by the words, the love, the confidence, and the witness of their parents and teachers, but more profoundly today by a culture that is both deeply appealing and essentially atheist.
The elders of the faith community have the task of passing the truth of the Gospel from age to age, undamaged by compromise or deformation. Yet too often my generation of leaders, in our families and in the Church, has abdicated that responsibility out of a combination of ignorance, cowardice and laziness in forming young people to carry the faith into the future. Shaping young lives is hard work in the face of a hostile culture. The clergy sexual abuse crisis is precisely a result of the self-indulgence and confusion introduced into the Church in my lifetime, even among those tasked with teaching and leading. And minors – our young people – have paid the price for it.
Finally, what the Church holds to be true about human sexuality is not a stumbling block. It is the only real path to joy and wholeness.
There is no such thing as an “LGBTQ Catholic” or a “transgender Catholic” or a “heterosexual Catholic,” as if our sexual appetites defined who we are; as if these designations described discrete communities of differing but equal integrity within the real ecclesial community, the body of Jesus Christ.
This has never been true in the life of the Church, and is not true now.
It follows that “LGBTQ” and similar language should not be used in Church documents, because using it suggests that these are real, autonomous groups, and the Church simply doesn’t categorize people that way.
Explaining why Catholic teaching about human sexuality is true, and why it’s ennobling and merciful, seems crucial to any discussion of anthropological issues. Yet it’s regrettably missing from this chapter and this document. I hope revisions by the Synod Fathers can address that.
October 1, 1986
1. The issue of homosexuality and the moral evaluation of homosexual acts have increasingly become a matter of public debate, even in Catholic circles. Since this debate often advances arguments and makes assertions inconsistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church, it is quite rightly a cause for concern to all engaged in the pastoral ministry, and this Congregation has judged it to be of sufficiently grave and widespread importance to address to the Bishops of the Catholic Church this Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons.
2. Naturally, an exhaustive treatment of this complex issue cannot be attempted here, but we will focus our reflection within the distinctive context of the Catholic moral perspective. It is a perspective which finds support in the more secure findings of the natural sciences, which have their own legitimate and proper methodology and field of inquiry.
However, the Catholic moral viewpoint is founded on human reason illumined by faith and is consciously motivated by the desire to do the will of God our Father. The Church is thus in a position to learn from scientific discovery but also to transcend the horizons of science and to be confident that her more global vision does greater justice to the rich reality of the human person in his spiritual and physical dimensions, created by God and heir, by grace, to eternal life.
It is within this context, then, that it can be clearly seen that the phenomenon of homosexuality, complex as it is, and with its many consequences for society and ecclesial life, is a proper focus for the Church’s pastoral care. It thus requires of her ministers attentive study, active concern and honest, theologically well-balanced counsel.
3. Explicit treatment of the problem was given in this Congregation’s “Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics” of December 29, 1975. That document stressed the duty of trying to understand the homosexual condition and noted that culpability for homosexual acts should only be judged with prudence. At the same time the Congregation took note of the distinction commonly drawn between the homosexual condition or tendency and individual homosexual actions. These were described as deprived of their essential and indispensable finality, as being “intrinsically disordered”, and able in no case to be approved of (cf. n. 8, $4).
In the discussion which followed the publication of the Declaration, however, an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.
Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.
4. An essential dimension of authentic pastoral care is the identification of causes of confusion regarding the Church’s teaching. One is a new exegesis of Sacred Scripture which claims variously that Scripture has nothing to say on the subject of homosexuality, or that it somehow tacitly approves of it, or that all of its moral injunctions are so culture-bound that they are no longer applicable to contemporary life. These views are gravely erroneous and call for particular attention here.
5. It is quite true that the Biblical literature owes to the different epochs in which it was written a good deal of its varied patterns of thought and expression (Dei Verbum 12). The Church today addresses the Gospel to a world which differs in many ways from ancient days. But the world in which the New Testament was written was already quite diverse from the situation in which the Sacred Scriptures of the Hebrew People had been written or compiled, for example.
What should be noticed is that, in the presence of such remarkable diversity, there is nevertheless a clear consistency within the Scriptures themselves on the moral issue of homosexual behaviour. The Church’s doctrine regarding this issue is thus based, not on isolated phrases for facile theological argument, but on the solid foundation of a constant Biblical testimony. The community of faith today, in unbroken continuity with the Jewish and Christian communities within which the ancient Scriptures were written, continues to be nourished by those same Scriptures and by the Spirit of Truth whose Word they are. It is likewise essential to recognize that the Scriptures are not properly understood when they are interpreted in a way which contradicts the Church’s living Tradition. To be correct, the interpretation of Scripture must be in substantial accord with that Tradition.
The Vatican Council II in Dei Verbum 10, put it this way: “It is clear, therefore, that in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls”. In that spirit we wish to outline briefly the Biblical teaching here.
6. Providing a basic plan for understanding this entire discussion of homosexuality is the theology of creation we find in Genesis. God, in his infinite wisdom and love, brings into existence all of reality as a reflection of his goodness. He fashions mankind, male and female, in his own image and likeness. Human beings, therefore, are nothing less than the work of God himself; and in the complementarity of the sexes, they are called to reflect the inner unity of the Creator. They do this in a striking way in their cooperation with him in the transmission of life by a mutual donation of the self to the other.
In Genesis 3, we find that this truth about persons being an image of God has been obscured by original sin. There inevitably follows a loss of awareness of the covenantal character of the union these persons had with God and with each other. The human body retains its “spousal significance” but this is now clouded by sin. Thus, in Genesis 19:1-11, the deterioration due to sin continues in the story of the men of Sodom. There can be no doubt of the moral judgement made there against homosexual relations. In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, in the course of describing the conditions necessary for belonging to the Chosen People, the author excludes from the People of God those who behave in a homosexual fashion.
Against the background of this exposition of theocratic law, an eschatological perspective is developed by St. Paul when, in I Cor 6:9, he proposes the same doctrine and lists those who behave in a homosexual fashion among those who shall not enter the Kingdom of God.
In Romans 1:18-32, still building on the moral traditions of his forebears, but in the new context of the confrontation between Christianity and the pagan society of his day, Paul uses homosexual behaviour as an example of the blindness which has overcome humankind. Instead of the original harmony between Creator and creatures, the acute distortion of idolatry has led to all kinds of moral excess. Paul is at a loss to find a clearer example of this disharmony than homosexual relations. Finally, 1 Tim. 1, in full continuity with the Biblical position, singles out those who spread wrong doctrine and in v. 10 explicitly names as sinners those who engage in homosexual acts.
7. The Church, obedient to the Lord who founded her and gave to her the sacramental life, celebrates the divine plan of the loving and live-giving union of men and women in the sacrament of marriage. It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behaviour therefore acts immorally.
To chose someone of the same sex for one’s sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals, of the Creator’s sexual design. Homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living. This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.
As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood.
8. Thus, the Church’s teaching today is in organic continuity with the Scriptural perspective and with her own constant Tradition. Though today’s world is in many ways quite new, the Christian community senses the profound and lasting bonds which join us to those generations who have gone before us, “marked with the sign of faith”.
Nevertheless, increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity. Those within the Church who argue in this fashion often have close ties with those with similar views outside it. These latter groups are guided by a vision opposed to the truth about the human person, which is fully disclosed in the mystery of Christ. They reflect, even if not entirely consciously, a materialistic ideology which denies the transcendent nature of the human person as well as the supernatural vocation of every individual.
The Church’s ministers must ensure that homosexual persons in their care will not be misled by this point of view, so profoundly opposed to the teaching of the Church. But the risk is great and there are many who seek to create confusion regarding the Church’s position, and then to use that confusion to their own advantage.
9. The movement within the Church, which takes the form of pressure groups of various names and sizes, attempts to give the impression that it represents all homosexual persons who are Catholics. As a matter of fact, its membership is by and large restricted to those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine it. It brings together under the aegis of Catholicism homosexual persons who have no intention of abandoning their homosexual behaviour. One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.
There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil-statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups’ concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved.
The Church can never be so callous. It is true that her clear position cannot be revised by pressure from civil legislation or the trend of the moment. But she is really concerned about the many who are not represented by the pro-homosexual movement and about those who may have been tempted to believe its deceitful propaganda. She is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society’s understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy.
10. It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.
But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.
11. It has been argued that the homosexual orientation in certain cases is not the result of deliberate choice; and so the homosexual person would then have no choice but to behave in a homosexual fashion. Lacking freedom, such a person, even if engaged in homosexual activity, would not be culpable.
Here, the Church’s wise moral tradition is necessary since it warns against generalizations in judging individual cases. In fact, circumstances may exist, or may have existed in the past, which would reduce or remove the culpability of the individual in a given instance; or other circumstances may increase it. What is at all costs to be avoided is the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behaviour of homosexual persons is always and totally compulsive and therefore inculpable. What is essential is that the fundamental liberty which characterizes the human person and gives him his dignity be recognized as belonging to the homosexual person as well. As in every conversion from evil, the abandonment of homosexual activity will require a profound collaboration of the individual with God’s liberating grace.
12. What, then, are homosexual persons to do who seek to follow the Lord? Fundamentally, they are called to enact the will of God in their life by joining whatever sufferings and difficulties they experience in virtue of their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross. That Cross, for the believer, is a fruitful sacrifice since from that death come life and redemption. While any call to carry the cross or to understand a Christian’s suffering in this way will predictably be met with bitter ridicule by some, it should be remembered that this is the way to eternal life for all who follow Christ.
It is, in effect, none other than the teaching of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians when he says that the Spirit produces in the lives of the faithful “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control” (5:22) and further (v. 24), “You cannot belong to Christ unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires.”
It is easily misunderstood, however, if it is merely seen as a pointless effort at self-denial. The Cross is a denial of self, but in service to the will of God himself who makes life come from death and empowers those who trust in him to practise virtue in place of vice.
To celebrate the Paschal Mystery, it is necessary to let that Mystery become imprinted in the fabric of daily life. To refuse to sacrifice one’s own will in obedience to the will of the Lord is effectively to prevent salvation. Just as the Cross was central to the expression of God’s redemptive love for us in Jesus, so the conformity of the self-denial of homosexual men and women with the sacrifice of the Lord will constitute for them a source of self-giving which will save them from a way of life which constantly threatens to destroy them.
Christians who are homosexual are called, as all of us are, to a chaste life. As they dedicate their lives to understanding the nature of God’s personal call to them, they will be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance more faithfully and receive the Lord’s grace so freely offered there in order to convert their lives more fully to his Way.
13. We recognize, of course, that in great measure the clear and successful communication of the Church’s teaching to all the faithful, and to society at large, depends on the correct instruction and fidelity of her pastoral ministers. The Bishops have the particularly grave responsibility to see to it that their assistants in the ministry, above all the priests, are rightly informed and personally disposed to bring the teaching of the Church in its integrity to everyone.
The characteristic concern and good will exhibited by many clergy and religious in their pastoral care for homosexual persons is admirable, and, we hope, will not diminish. Such devoted ministers should have the confidence that they are faithfully following the will of the Lord by encouraging the homosexual person to lead a chaste life and by affirming that person’s God-given dignity and worth.
14. With this in mind, this Congregation wishes to ask the Bishops to be especially cautious of any programmes which may seek to pressure the Church to change her teaching, even while claiming not to do so. A careful examination of their public statements and the activities they promote reveals a studied ambiguity by which they attempt to mislead the pastors and the faithful. For example, they may present the teaching of the Magisterium, but only as if it were an optional source for the formation of one’s conscience. Its specific authority is not recognized. Some of these groups will use the word “Catholic” to describe either the organization or its intended members, yet they do not defend and promote the teaching of the Magisterium; indeed, they even openly attack it. While their members may claim a desire to conform their lives to the teaching of Jesus, in fact they abandon the teaching of his Church. This contradictory action should not have the support of the Bishops in any way.
15. We encourage the Bishops, then, to provide pastoral care in full accord with the teaching of the Church for homosexual persons of their dioceses. No authentic pastoral programme will include organizations in which homosexual persons associate with each other without clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral. A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.
We would heartily encourage programmes where these dangers are avoided. But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church’s teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church’s position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.
An authentic pastoral programme will assist homosexual persons at all levels of the spiritual life: through the sacraments, and in particular through the frequent and sincere use of the sacrament of Reconciliation, through prayer, witness, counsel and individual care. In such a way, the entire Christian community can come to recognize its own call to assist its brothers and sisters, without deluding them or isolating them.
16. From this multi-faceted approach there are numerous advantages to be gained, not the least of which is the realization that a homosexual person, as every human being, deeply needs to be nourished at many different levels simultaneously.
The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a “heterosexual” or a “homosexual” and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.
17. In bringing this entire matter to the Bishops’ attention, this Congregation wishes to support their efforts to assure that the teaching of the Lord and his Church on this important question be communicated fully to all the faithful.
In light of the points made above, they should decide for their own dioceses the extent to which an intervention on their part is indicated. In addition, should they consider it helpful, further coordinated action at the level of their National Bishops’ Conference may be envisioned.
In a particular way, we would ask the Bishops to support, with the means at their disposal, the development of appropriate forms of pastoral care for homosexual persons. These would include the assistance of the psychological, sociological and medical sciences, in full accord with the teaching of the Church.
They are encouraged to call on the assistance of all Catholic theologians who, by teaching what the Church teaches, and by deepening their reflections on the true meaning of human sexuality and Christian marriage with the virtues it engenders, will make an important contribution in this particular area of pastoral care.
The Bishops are asked to exercise special care in the selection of pastoral ministers so that by their own high degree of spiritual and personal maturity and by their fidelity to the Magisterium, they may be of real service to homosexual persons, promoting their health and well-being in the fullest sense. Such ministers will reject theological opinions which dissent from the teaching of the Church and which, therefore, cannot be used as guidelines for pastoral care.
We encourage the Bishops to promote appropriate catechetical programmes based on the truth about human sexuality in its relationship to the family as taught by the Church. Such programmes should provide a good context within which to deal with the question of homosexuality.
This catechesis would also assist those families of homosexual persons to deal with this problem which affects them so deeply.
All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted. Special attention should be given to the practice of scheduling religious services and to the use of Church buildings by these groups, including the facilities of Catholic schools and colleges. To some, such permission to use Church property may seem only just and charitable; but in reality it is contradictory to the purpose for which these institutions were founded, it is misleading and often scandalous.
In assessing proposed legislation, the Bishops should keep as their uppermost concern the responsibility to defend and promote family life.
18. The Lord Jesus promised, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (Jn. 8:32). Scripture bids us speak the truth in love (cf. Eph. 4:15). The God who is at once truth and love calls the Church to minister to every man, woman and child with the pastoral solicitude of our compassionate Lord. It is in this spirit that we have addressed this Letter to the Bishops of the Church, with the hope that it will be of some help as they care for those whose suffering can only be intensified by error and lightened by truth.
(During an audience granted to the undersigned Prefect, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, approved this Letter, adopted in an ordinary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and ordered it to be published.)
Given at Rome, 1 October 1986.
+JOSEPH CARDINAL RATZINGER
Titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Numidia
(to be continued)
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